The Henry County Conservation Department was recognized by the Iowa Parks Foundation for the inexpensive way they build two new cabins at Oakland Mills Park. The cabins will be available to rent later this year.
John Pullis, director of the Conservation Department, presented at the Iowa Parks Foundation Recreational Cabin Task Force meeting in Des Moines for the unique design and inexpensive way the cabins were built.
“I had the chairman of the task force come down and tour the cabins,” Pullis said. “They were interested in cost and how we designed them, and they are putting together a manual on best ways to build these cabins.”
Pullis said the task force brought together a variety of people — a representative from Iowa State University, Iowa Department of Natural Resources, the Iowa Gaming Commission, FEED Energy, Design Homes Inc., Wellmark Blue Cross and Blue Shield and other companies — to learn about how to build and manage these cabins.
Pullis said the Iowa DNR and National Park Service is putting cabins into their parks that are similar to Henry County Conservation Department’s cabins; however, they are doing it at double the cost.
“Their cost is $250,000 per cabin and our cost to date is $115,000 (per cabin),” Pullis said. “I told the (Conservation) Board that I thought it was a huge pat on the back for us to be recognized for the way we were able to do these cabins. We have other task forces looking at us.”
The cabins at Oakland Mills Park are being built with funds from the estate of George and Imogene Nuding, who named the Henry County Conservation Department as a beneficiary after they died in 2012. The contribution from the estate was $250,000.
Pullis hopes to name the cabins Imogene and George’s cabins in their memory. It will be voted on by the Conservation Board.
There are four cabins available to rent at Oakland Mills Park.
In other news, the Henry County Roads Department is working steadily on replacing culverts. Last week, the department was out repairing a culvert that washed out on 260th Street west of New London. They also replaced a crossroad pipe on 270th Street and installed an entrance on Agency Road.
Crews also cut brush on 320th Street west of Lowell, started mowing shoulders, continued seeding operations, worked on signs, hauled resurfacing rock and were out doing dust control.
Jake Hotchkiss, county engineer, said that heavy rains don’t cause culverts to fail, but rain does alert the department to problems.
“Most of these are pipes that didn’t have any more life, and the rain showed us the problems,” Hotchkiss said. “A lot of times, pipes are rusted out and flooding shows you problems. Heavy rains will show them faster.”
This week, the department will have a second preconstruction meeting with the railroad to discuss construction on the W55 Franklin Avenue Bridge. Hotchkiss said he will have a more firm closure date after that meeting.